29 March 2009

Amoklauf in Carthage

As I write, the only clue we have to the possible motive of the man who shot up a nursing home in Carthage NC, killing eight people before he was wounded and captured, comes from his ex-wife. She says that he'd been diagnosed with cancer and had been telling people that he was "getting ready to go," or words to that effect. For what it's worth, she claims that the suspect had a history of violence during their marriage. Meanwhile, investigators say that the gunman had never worked at the nursing home and had no relatives treated there. That doesn't rule out any relationship to any of the employees, but we don't know enough to speculate further. All we know is that people are dead and the man had a gun. Did he buy a gun in order to go on a rampage some day? Probably not. How many who do, did? Probably the younger ones, the high schoolers here and abroad, but the older ones most likely had theirs at first for hunting or for "protection." How many rampages could have been predicted on the day the eventual killer bought his gun? Your only clue would be the fact that anyone who buys a gun for protection is claiming a right to kill, even if only in self-defense. But how can we predict when someone's going to go on the offensive? Too many people don't bother trying. They simply arm themselves for protection against the day, and so the cycle goes on.

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